COLUMBIA, Tenn. – A mosque was destroyed Saturday by a fire that federal investigators say appears to have been caused by arson. No one was injured.
Investigators found drawings of swastikas and other graffiti at the Islamic Center of Columbia, said Special Agent Eric Kehn of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Daoud Abudiab, president of the center, said authorities told him the fire probably started around 5 a.m. The graffiti included the words "white power" and "we run the world," Abudiab said.
"We have not had any trouble," he said. "This is the first incident."
Ten to 15 people regularly worshipped at the mosque, which opened in 2000. Abudiab said they plan to look for another place to worship in Columbia, about 50 miles south of Nashville.
"This has been home for us -- Middle Tennessee and Columbia -- since 1998, and people have been supportive and friendly and welcoming," he said. "Obviously, we are concerned, but it hasn't really sunk in yet."